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The Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) was initiated in 1992 as an informal intergovernmental cooperation and, was transformed, on May 1st, 1999, into a full-fledged regional economic organization. The BSEC Organization is composed of 12 Member States (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldavia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine). Greece, together with Russia and Turkey play a leading role in the framework of the Organization.
The Intergovernmental cooperation is coordinated by a six-month rotating Chairmanship undertaken by the Member States in alphabetical order and is administratively supported by the Permanent International Secretariat (PERMIS), located in Istanbul, headed by a Secretary General. Since 1st July 2015 and for a three year period, this post is occupied by Ambassador Michael B. Christides.
Intergovernmental cooperation within the BSEC Organization is guided by a strategic document namely “Economic Agenda towards an Enhanced BSEC Partnership 2012-2017”, which was approved by the 26th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of BSEC (Belgrade, 11.6.2012) and adopted by the BSEC Summit (Istanbul, 26.6.2012), on the occasion of the 20th BSEC Anniversary. This cooperation focuses mainly on the fields of energy, transport, communications, trade and economic development, banking and finance, institutional renewal and good governance, combating organized crime, environmental protection, agriculture, cooperation in healthcare issues, emergency assistance, research and development, education, tourism, culture, facilitating the transport of goods and customs procedures, exchange of statistical data and the promotion of SMEs.
Moreover, there are four organizations enjoying the status of the BSEC Related Body a) the BSEC Parliamentary Assembly (PABSEC) which coordinates inter-parliamentary cooperation, b) the BSEC Business Council which coordinates the business cooperation, both with headquarters in Istanbul, as well as c) the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), which is an international financial Organization within BSEC located in Thessaloniki and d) the International Center for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS), headquartered in Athens, whose creation was spearheaded by our country, as BSEC’s think-tank covering cooperation between scientific and academic communities of the BSEC Member States.
The Project Development Fund, operating within the framework of the BSEC PERMIS, is another tool for the development of regional economic cooperation, which provides funding opportunities to public and private agencies of member states, in order for them to carry out preliminary feasibility studies for development projects.
In view of the 25th Anniversary of BSEC, in 2017, the Member States acknowledged the need for reforming BSEC Organizationin in order to further encrease its efficiency and effectiveness, as well as its capacity for implementing development projects and becoming result-oriented.